On 4th January 2017, the Lebanese cabinet approved the two crucial decrees necessary for oil and gas exploration to go ahead, paving the way for Lebanon’s first offshore license round to continue. The first decree delineates the Lebanese offshore area into 10 blocks and the second sets the tender protocol and the model exploration and production agreement (EPA) to be signed between the Lebanese Government and the successful bidders.
The Exploration Taxation Law and the onshore Exploration Law were also discussed at the cabinet meeting and these are expected to be delivered to the Lebanese Parliament within the next month. A ministerial committee has been formed, consisting of the Prime Minister, Minister of Energy and Minister of Finance, charged with finalising the draft texts of the laws.
Extensive seismic surveys showed that offshore Lebanon may have substantial hydrocarbon resources and a recent study by the Lebanese Petroleum Administration (LPA) provides further compelling evidence in support of this.
Offshore Lebanon lies in the extension of the prolific South Levant basin which contains the giant gas fields of Tamar and Leviathan. 30 TCF of gas lies in accumulations that run up to the border; however offshore Lebanon has never been drilled.
Intriguingly the Northern Levantine Basin is deeper than the southern part of the basin and in excess of 10,000 m of Mesozoic and Cenozoic sediments are clear on seismic. In this deep basin, the Oligocene and Eocene source rock is buried deep enough to mature oil, making this potentially the most exciting part of the Eastern Mediterranean for exploration.
The proven deep water play in the south has been established in massive sands of Early Miocene age, in large anticlinal structures. Spectrum’s 3D seismic data reveals in excess of 20 large anticlinal structures, with areas up to 40 sq km, characterized by 3-way dip closure and one-way fault closure to the north at the same Early Miocene level as the Tamar equivalent discoveries. These structures are bigger and less complex than those associated with the recent gas discoveries offshore Israel. Additionally, correlating the objective section from the recent discoveries into the 3D dataset, the Early Miocene section appears to be 3 to 5 times thicker in the North Levant Basin.Plate reconstruction models (e.g. Robertson 1998) support the derivation of these sands from an early Nile Delta, supplying mature, clean sands in huge quantities to the Northern Levant Basin.
The recent Zohr discovery of gas in Early Cretaceous carbonates north of the Nile is further support that sands were transported to the east of the Eratosthenes Platform, pouring into and filling the basin offshore Lebanon. Other potentially prospective play types have been identified at various stratigraphic levels, all supported by seismic hydrocarbon indicators such as AVO anomalies, fluid escape features, potential BSR’s with free gas amplitude anomalies. Huge hydrocarbon potential eagerly awaits the announcement of the Lebanon Licensing Round.
For more information on the prospectivity offshore Lebanon and seismic data available please contact Spectrum.